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Given through a nose spray, an intramuscular injection, or an IV infusion, ketamine hits your bloodstream and starts its effects within a matter of minutes. It causes a physiological cascade that leads to neurogenesis (the creation of new neurons) neuroplasticity (the creation of new neural pathways).
In relation to other antidepressant medications ketamine is very unique and also not fully understood yet. SSRIs, SDRIs and SNRIs are the most common antidepressant medications and they work on three neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine respectively. Ketamine is different though. Ketamine works on another important neurotransmitter called glutamate. Ketamine acts as an NMDA inhibitor. NMDA stops the flow of glutamate in the brain. When we inhibit this receptor brainwide connection is increased because glutamate flows without inhibition.
Ketamine also starts a process of neurogenesis in the brain. To demonstrate this, look at a neuron before and after receiving a ketamine treatment.
Ketamine is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines. It was first developed in the 1960s as an anesthetic during the Vietnam War. Over the past few decades, however, researchers have discovered its incredible ability to rapidly and effectively treat depression, PTSD, anxiety, OCD and certain types of chronic nerve pain.
Providing ketamine therapy for depression, PTSD, OCD, anxiety and certain types of chronic nerve pain.
Depression is an extremely common and frequently misunderstood mood disorder. All of us have ups and downs in life. Times when we are happy and times when we are sad. This is to be expected, since we are emotional beings continually facing new life experiences.
As those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder know, it can be an extremely debilitating condition. PTSD is a mental health disorder that occurs as a response to an abnormal, traumatic event. The event may be experienced directly as the victim or indirectly as a witness to the event.
Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses in the United States. Nearly 1 out of 5 American adults suffers from some form of chronic anxiety. Anxiety is a common feeling experienced by everyone from time to time.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a chronic mental health disorder comprised of two separate elements - obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are recurrent and unwanted thoughts, impulses or mental images that produce deep anxiety, fear, repulsion and/or doubt in the individual experiencing them.
As approximately 20% of adult Americans know, chronic nerve pain can affect every aspect of your life. If your sciatica keeps you from sleeping at night, how can you possibly give it your all at work the next day?
According to general studies, two-thirds of all patients respond and one-third have remission from depression within one day. Compare this to the remission rate of antidepressants which is less than 20%.
Some people abuse ketamine recreationally so we should all be concerned about the potential of abuse. It’s important that any medical treatment does not cause addiction. For ketamine the possibility of addiction following treatment in a medical setting is low. We actively work to make sure this doesn’t happen.
An important study by Parise et al. showed that mice given access to an unlimited source of ketamine water didn’t show any addiction-like behaviors (Parise 2013).
Risk of ketamine dependence becomes higher when providers prescribe at-home lozenges or nasal spray. We only do in-house treatments so that we can minimize the risk of dependence. We also do drug screening to make sure our patients are safe and not abusing ketamine on the street.
Ketamine was initially derived as a surgical anesthetic for use in the battlefield. It has been used in hospitals and veterinary clinics since the 1960’s for putting patients under for surgeries. Ketamine has been used for decades and is assumed to be very safe in most recent medical literature because of its track record.
We assess thoroughly for the contraindications including high-blood pressure, heart issues, history of brain aneurysm, and bladder sensitivity. None of these automatically disqualify you from treatment but we do need to be aware of these issues.
The main physical effect ketamine has is raising blood pressure and heart rate slightly. A study from Riva Posse in 2018 stated “ketamine for the treatment of depression, infused over 40 min at 0.5 mg/kg, is safe and well tolerated in terms of blood pressure re-activity in the acute setting.”
Another study reported that “Ketamine treatment was safe and well tolerated.” (Glue 2018). A systematic review of ketamine studies for depression found the “available evidence supports the safety, tolerability, and effectiveness of ketamine.” (DiVincenzo 2021).
We hope this information has been helpful for you to understand ketamine and get a feel for it. We are very excited to answer any questions or share more information with you. Please use the “Contact Us” button on our website and follow us on Instagram to stay in touch.
Albott, C Sophia et al. “Efficacy, Safety, and Durability of Repeated Ketamine Infusions for Comorbid Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Treatment-Resistant Depression.” The journal of clinical psychiatry 79.3 (2018): n. pag. Web.
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Bundies, Gabriel Luiz, and Himanshu Tyagi. “3095 Rapid Anti-Obsessive Treatments of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Reviewing Effects of Ketamine in OCD.” Journal of neurology, neurosurgery and psychiatry 92.8 (2021): A10–A10. Web.
Dakwar, Elias et al. “A Single Ketamine Infusion Combined With Motivational Enhancement Therapy for Alcohol Use Disorder: A Randomized Midazolam-Controlled Pilot Trial.” The American journal of psychiatry 177.2 (2020): 125–133. Web.
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